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Statistics Canada release 'unprecedented' jobless number, says nearly two million jobs lost in April

Last Updated May 8, 2020 at 4:19 pm MDT

OTTAWA – The Canadian economy lost almost two million jobs in April, a record high, as the closure of non-essential services to slow the spread of COVID-19 devastated the economy and forced businesses to shutter temporarily.

The loss of 1,993,800 comes on top of more than one million jobs lost in March.

The number of people who were employed but worked less than half of their usual hours for reasons related to COVID-19 increased by 2.5 million from February to April

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate soared to 13.0 per cent as the full force of the pandemic hit compared with 7.8 per cent in March.

It was the second-highest unemployment rate on record.

In Alberta, the unemployment rate rose nearly five points to 13.4 per cent with Calgary’s rate hitting 10.8 per cent with Edmonton rising to 10 per cent.

Quebec was the hardest hit province with over 820,000 jobs lost resulting in a jobless rate of 17 per cent.

In comparison, the 1981-1982 recession resulted in a total employment decline of 612,000 over approximately 17 months.

Economists on average had expected the loss of four million jobs and an unemployment rate of 18 per cent, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

The details from Statistics Canada shows nearly 1.5 million full-time jobs and over 500,000 part-time jobs were lost.